Hatching Eggs vs Purchasing Baby Chickens – Pros & Cons

If you want to raise a new flock, you could be wondering whether to hatch eggs into baby chickens or purchase baby chickens.

Both purchasing baby chicks and hatching chicks have their advantages and demerits. For instance, hatching eggs can be more cost-effective than buying baby chicks, although there isn’t a guarantee that the eggs you are trying to hatch will hatch.

Again, purchasing baby chicks can be convenient, but you will have to pay more for those delicate little birds.

Hatching Chicken Eggs

Hatching eggs is a brilliant idea, especially if you are hatching a small number of fertile eggs. However, artificial incubation has its disadvantages and advantages.

You must know these merits and demerits if you are considering hatching eggs.

– Advantages of Hatching Eggs

Here are some of the most significant advantages of hatching eggs over purchasing baby chicks that you will have to raise from scratch.

  • Hatching many chicks– The significant advantage of artificial incubation is that you can hatch many eggs within a short duration. No wonder those who rear chickens on a large scale opt to hatch rather than purchase baby chicks because they will get many chicks in weeks.
  • Safe– Hatching eggs, primarily through artificial incubation, will reduce the risk of baby chicks getting diseases and parasites from hen mothers. Furthermore, there isn’t any cost for feeding broody hens when using an incubator.
  • Minimal chances of baby chicks dying- You have a 75% chance of hatching baby chicks successfully if you utilize the proper hatching methods and adhere to optimal hatching temperatures. Again, hens don’t usually damage their eggs during natural incubation. Thus the chances of baby chicks dying are low whether hatching eggs through natural or artificial incubation.

– Disadvantages of Hatching Eggs

Although hatching eggs has many benefits, there are some key disadvantages of hatching eggs you need to consider extensively before hatching eggs.

These are some of the critical disadvantages of hatching eggs.

  • It is costly to purchase an incubator– Hatching eggs may seem affordable, mainly when hatching them through artificial incubation. However, buying an incubator can be expensive, making the cost of artificial incubation relatively high. Most incubators are costly and aren’t affordable to small-scale chicken farmers.
  • Labor intensive– Hatching eggs can be cost-effective when using artificial incubation. You must turn the eggs frequently to ensure they remain within the ideal incubation temperatures. Furthermore, artificial incubation requires you to keep monitoring the eggs. Even for natural incubation, you must monitor the hens to ensure they sit on the eggs. It would help if you also had plenty of skills when hatching eggs in an incubator to maintain and manage hatching temperatures.
  • Risk of breakage– Although there are few risks of chicks dying when hatching eggs, hatching exposes the eggs to the risk of breakages, particularly when turning the eggs on the incubator. Artificial hatching also increases the risk of embryo damage, especially when you fail to adhere to the proper hatching temperatures.
  • Not knowing the breed– You won’t know what chicken breed an egg will produce by looking at an egg. That means you can be hatching unsuitable breeds without your consent, unlike when purchasing baby chicks when you are sure the chicks you are purchasing are from a particular breed. Furthermore, you never know if the eggs you are incubating are from hens with poor hereditary dispositions, ultimately giving you weak chicks in the long run.

Purchasing Baby Chickens

After weighing the benefits and disadvantages of hatching eggs, you might decide to purchase baby chickens over hatching eggs.

Like with hatching eggs, there are equally good and bad sides to purchasing eggs, although it might seem fair enough to buy baby chicks rather than hatching eggs, particularly when you don’t have an incubator or broody hens that are good setters.

– Advantages of Purchasing Baby Chicks

Purchasing baby chicks can have many advantages, especially if you want to start your chicken-keeping venture immediately.

Here are some benefits of buying baby chicks over hatching eggs through artificial or natural incubation:

Cost-effective– Purchasing baby chicks can be advantageous in the long run, especially if you want to start with a small flock. You can purchase baby chicks and start keeping chickens right away without going through the long process of hatching eggs. Again, old-day chicks are inexpensive, and you can buy a reasonable number of chickens at a low price.

A chance to choose the right breed– This is possibly the most significant advantage of purchasing baby chicks over hatching eggs. You can select baby chicks from your favorite breed. For instance, you can buy baby chicks from breeds like Australops if you want a dependable meat-producing breed. Similarly, you can buy Leghorn baby chicks to raise egg-producing chickens. You can also select the gender of the chicks because you can decide to purchase either female or male baby chicks.

Chicks will be somewhat older– The chicks you purchase from a poultry farm will likely be older than the one-day chicks you hatch through natural or artificial incubation because hatcheries and farms have plenty of baby chicks they don’t sell at once. You can also purchase baby chicks that will be a couple of months older, which means you won’t need to buy plenty of feed before your chicks grow into adult birds once you get a couple of months old baby chicks.

– Disadvantages of Purchasing Baby Chicks

Purchasing baby chicks is equally risky because there are some key disadvantages of buying them over hatching eggs.

Here are among the top disadvantages of purchasing baby chicks:

  • Risk of carrying diseases– Some of the baby chicks from hatcheries and poultry farms are potential disease carriers. You risk spreading illnesses to your flock if you purchase chicks with diseases.
  • Somewhat costly– All baby chicks aren’t the same in terms of price and breeds. Some breeds are expensive, and you may incur high expenses when purchasing many chicks from costly species.
  • Some chicks don’t survive the journey-Many hatcheries ship their baby chicks when they are too young. That means some of the baby chicks you purchase may not arrive safely in your home. Some might die on their way.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Between Hatching Eggs and Purchasing Baby Chickens

Here are the factors you should consider when deciding whether to purchase baby chicks or hatch eggs:

– Experience Level

Hatching baby chicks is suitable for those who have experience hatching eggs and taking care of their old-day chicks.

So, you should always purchase chicks instead of hatching eggs if you have no hatching skills.

– Availability of Eggs and Baby Chicks

You should purchase baby chicks if you have no fertile eggs to hatch.

Equally, you should hatch eggs if you aren’t close to a good hatchery where you can purchase healthy baby chicks.

– Budget and Cost

New poultry farmers with a limited budget should opt to hatch eggs because hatching eggs, primarily through natural incubation, can be affordable.

However, you can purchase baby chicks if you have a decent budget that can allow you to purchase the number of baby chicks you want to raise.

Shipping baby chicks from far-flung areas can be pretty expensive.

– Commitment to Wait for Eggs to Hatch

Hatching eggs require time, patience, and skill. Those without commitment to waiting for the eggs to hatch should purchase baby chicks instead of hatching eggs.

You can opt for hatching if you are committed to waiting for the eggs to hatch.

– Preferences for Specific Breed Type

Purchasing baby chicks is the way to go if you prefer a specific chicken breed.

For instance, you can buy baby chicks from breeds that we raise primarily for eggs if you want egg-producing breeds.

Or, you can purchase baby chicks from meat-producing breeds if you’re going to raise meat-producing chickens.


Purchasing baby chicks and hatching eggs can be advantageous and disadvantageous, depending on your situation.

To raise a small flock, you can buy baby chicks instead of hatching eggs. You can also hatch eggs if you don’t have a reasonable budget for purchasing baby chickens.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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